- GUITARRISTA: Susana Raya gives a concert at The Joint as part of the Argenta Acoustic Music Series.
7:30 p.m. The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse. $25.
If you figure out a way to make it through a three-minute video of Susana Raya's singing and guitar playing without falling head over heels in love, let me know. The woman who music critic Ted Gioia coined "the Andalusian Eva Cassidy" made her way into jazz guitar after getting her propers at a conservatory in her native Cordoba, Spain, spent a good chunk of the aughts racking up titles in international jazz competitions. She's performing in intimate venues, like the one you'll see of "Ave de Paso" on Vimeo for the Dutch GitaarSalon, in which the audience — already sitting very still — appears to freeze when Raya begins singing delicately and unaffectedly in Spanish, letting six guitar strings do what they do in only a precious few sets of hands. See argentaacoustic.com/tickets for tickets. SS
- 'MOVING TO BRUSSELS': Bhi Bhiman performs at South on Main as part of Oxford American's concert series.
8 p.m. South on Main. $25-$34.
There's a bit in the video for Bhi Bhiman's "Moving to Brussels" in which actor Keegan-Michael Key — in a cameo as a sort of "bad cop" performance coach that's only a couple of clicks calmer than Key's "Luther, Obama's Anger Translator" — insults Bhiman's rhythm, quipping that he is "the wrong kind of brown." It's by no means the most inventive bit in the video, which is itself a parody of the film "Whiplash," but it might be the one that pokes at Bhiman's biography most specifically. Bhiman, a son of Sri Lankan immigrants gifted with a magnificently expressive voice, once referred to his childhood in St. Louis as "a sort of Brown Norman Rockwell existence with lots of running around in creeks and playing baseball," and has spent much of his artistic bandwidth exploring ideas around the immigrant's experience in America, xenophobia and racial tension. Check out the achingly lovely duet with Rhiannon Giddens called "Up in Arms," sung from the perspective of Black Panthers co-founder Huey P. Newton and referencing Arkansas-born Panther Bobby Hutton: "The police are always saying 'why this senseless violence?'/But they'll light the spark and we'll be dry brush in the wind/'Up in arms, up in arms, up in arms!' I said/Tell Bobby Hutton that policeman still gets paid." SS
- Jim Herrington
- Kevin Gordon
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $7.
If anyone's ever tried to turn you on to north Louisiana-born songwriter Kevin Gordon in the last six years, chances are they've cited "Colfax/Step In Time," a 10 1/2-minute epic about a seventh-grader's first whiffs of adult things like sex and racism while on a bus trip to an out-of-town football game with the marching band. And why wouldn't they, either as a litmus test or as the most efficient way to communicate Gordon's understated brilliance? "Colfax" is one of many moments in his work where the man's master's degree in poetry surfaces without fanfare, builds and hits you right in the gut, as it is bound to do Thursday night in such an intimate venue. Frontier Circus opens the show. SS
9 p.m. Rev Room. $30-$125.
When I think of Big K.R.I.T. I'm back in Mississippi in a white church van driving with a group of middle school boys who, after a long trip to Little Rock listening to palatable rock, demanded that we please, for the love of God, play some rap music. We, the "adults," played "Country Shit." The kids lost it. I oversaw a group of 12-year-olds yelling: "Let me tell you 'bout this/Super fly dirty dirty/Third coast muddy water. ... Let me tell you bout this country shit/Country, country shit." I stand by the decision. Big K.R.I.T. was theirs after all — from right over in Meridian. And then, too, around 2012, Big K.R.I.T. was among the group of ascendant rappers, destined to redefine their corner of hip-hop. Kendrick Lamar had West Coast's intricate flow; K.R.I.T. had the South's imposing beats. Now, a little over five years later, K.R.I.T.'s "Big Bank" — from the double-disc "4eva Is A Mighty Long Time" — continues to carry the torch of the booming subwoofer. Yet, K.R.I.T.'s evolution of the Southern traditions has always been a knock against him. Critics say: Yes, he's amazing but ... where's the new sound? Ah, to hell with the new sound. Southern music's always been about adding to the old sound. T.I. is with Big K.R.I.T. on "Big Bank" over a classic Southern rap beat; it's like Woody Guthrie playing with Dylan. JR
- WE'RE AN AMERICAN BAND: Grand Funk Railroad (pictured), Morris Day & The Time, Adam Faucett and Akeem Kemp play in Hot Springs this weekend for festivities surrounding the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.
FRIDAY 3/16-SATURDAY 3/17
FIRST EVER 15TH ANNUAL WORLD'S SHORTEST ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE
3 p.m. Fri., 5:30 p.m. Sat. Downtown Hot Springs. Free.
Jon Heder of "Napoleon Dynamite" fame, Joey Fatone of NSYNC fame, Grand Funk Railroad of Sweet Sweet Connie fame (or was that the other way 'round?), Morris Day and The Time, the Budweiser Clydesdales, Adam Faucett and Akeem Kemp are all going to be in the historic area of downtown Hot Springs this weekend. If that doesn't strike you as a recipe for a top-notch people-watching party, add the following ingredients: attendees of the concurrent Valley of the Vapors music festival, the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, people dressed as leprechauns, the crowd from the Hot Springs Women's Film Festival and every half-drunk Oaklawn patron who went to claim a piece of that $900,000 Rebel Stakes purse on Saturday. Rose Schweikhart, mastermind behind the Superior Bathhouse Brewery, and Anthony Valinoti, mastermind behind DeLuca's Pizzeria, preside as parade royalty over the parade on the 98-foot-long Bridge Street that makes up the whole of the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade. Check out shorteststpats.com for a full schedule. SS
- Larkin Poe
FRIDAY 3/16-TUESDAY 3/20
VALLEY OF THE VAPORS INDEPENDENT MUSIC FESTIVAL
Various times. Various venues, downtown Hot Springs. $10-$40.
If 90 percent of what you've heard about 2018's South by Southwest Festival has been people bitching about traffic and inflated prices in the Austin area, consider this a counterpoint. Since 2005, Bill Solleder (founder of Low Key Arts and now Special Events Manager for Visit Hot Springs) and his successor, Artistic Director Bobby Missile (also of the band Ghost Bones), have been luring inventive musicians and artists to Hot Springs with the idea that: a) musicians want a place to play on the way to/from SXSW and b) if that place happens to be in a gorgeous National Park with old-school bathhouses and natural mineral springs at its epicenter, even better. This year, the lineup includes Larkin Poe, Grandchildren, Juiceboxxx, Oneida, Ed Schrader's Music Beat, Fenster, Moaning, Or, Birdcloud and about 30 other bands you'll hear about later and think "Weren't they in Hot Springs last year?" Check out the schedule at valleyofthevapors.com. SS
- Chad Batka
- Steve Earle
STEVE EARLE & THE DUKES
8 p.m. Griffin Music Hall, El Dorado. $25-$35.
"Copperhead Road" came out 30 years ago. Its chief author, Steve Earle, called it a mesh of heavy metal and bluegrass. Critics called it "power twang." It spawned years of mimicry; attempts to write songs about whiskey and weed as ballsy as the record's title track; attempts to rock-ify the mandolin; attempts to snapshot the experience of the down and out in America; and attempts to reconcile that experience with politics that didn't fit neatly into the "D" or "R" categories. Through his music, Earle's railed against the death penalty ("Billy Austin," "Ellis Unit One"), war ("The Revolution Starts Now") and the South's misguided nostalgia for the rebel flag ("Mississippi, It's Time"). Now, Earle and his band The Dukes play "Copperhead Road" in its entirety — plus some new tunes from his latest, "So You Wannabe An Outlaw" — at The Griffin Music Hall in El Dorado's Murphy Arts District. I wonder what he'll make of all those adoring statues of bygone oil tycoons. SS
'BOB LE FLAMBEUR'
7 p.m. Riverdale 10 Cinema. $9.
As we study the heist film with the Arkansas Times' film series, our invisible guide is a man named Auguste le Breton. A French orphan of early 20th century Brittany — and born Auguste Monofort — le Breton (which translates to "native of Brittany") wrote 77 novels, distinctively in slangy French, about the criminal world he'd dipped a toe in as a rudderless youth. One of those novels was "Rififi," which was the basis for a film of the same name, the first in the series. Our latest screening is "Bob le Flambeur." The film was released in 1956 in France with dialogue written by le Breton. The director of the film, Jean Pierre-Melville, also changed his name: he was born Jean-Pierre Grumbach in 1917, a Jewish boy in France. He did not call himself "Melville" until sometime during the 1930s after reading the American author Melville's "Moby-Dick." Both le Breton and Pierre-Melville were part of the French resistance during World War II. What were these young Frenchmen looking for in their name changes? What secrets did they hide of that search for meaning in the capers of men stealing jewels? It makes me think of one of my favorite writers, Patrick Modiano (also a French Jew). The most famous of his works is "Missing Person," in which a detective goes in search of his own identity. But "Missing Person" is not unique. All Modiano's novels, basically, have that plot — an endless search to steal back one's self. JR
- David Bergman
- Jon Bon Jovi
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $23-$155.
The man responsible for some of your worst hair ideas and your best karaoke jams is returning to Little Rock sans guitarist Richie Sambora, and his team has booked a local band — DeFrance — to open up the show. Rolling Stone's "Reader's Poll" of fan favorites published in 2016 reveals Jon Bon Jovi as a rock shapeshifter of a frontman, capable of throwing guitars and doing the tango with microphone stands for 1986's "You Give Love A Bad Name," to cooing at old photographs for 1994's "Always," to holding up traffic with a secret underground tunnel concert in 2000's "It's My Life." "I can't sing a love song like the way it's meant to be," he sang on "Always." After a quick rundown of his discography in light of this show, I'm not so sure about that. SS
BRONCHO BILLY ANDERSON: A CELEBRATION OF HIS LIFE AND WORK
7 p.m. Historic Arkansas Museum. Free, registration required.
It turns out that the first cowboy movie star was born in Little Rock to a Russian Jewish mother and a German Jewish father. Gilbert Maxwell Aronson played three roles in 1903's "The Great Train Robbery," a primitive but pivotal silent film that ushered in an era of stick-'em-up Westerns, and which some herald as the first American action flick, the first Western film and the first true narrative film ever released. Aronson became "Broncho Billy" Anderson, and went on to develop the idea of the "cowboy movie," along with many of the genre's definitive features. "The techniques he devised," Anderson's Encyclopedia of Arkansas entry reads, "including the 'long shot,' 'medium shot,' 'close up,' and 'reestablishment scene,' have become standard techniques present even in modern westerns." This event, on what would be Anderson's 138th birthday, celebrates his life and work with screenings of his short films and a reception featuring the Jewish foods from Anderson's youth as well as a presentation by Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum founders David and Rena Kiehn. Just before that, there's a dedication of a marker in Anderson's honor in front of the First United Methodist Church at the corner of Center and Seventh streets, led by Jerry Klinger, founder of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation. You'll find the link to register at historicarkansas.org. SS
- 'BELLE OF THE WEST': Electric blues guitarist and vocalist Samatha Fish lands at the Rev Room Wednesday evening.
8 p.m. Rev Room. $15.
It's very clear from anything she's put out in the last 12 months: Samantha Fish has been sharpening the edges. Maybe more crucially, though, the way people see the 29-year-old, blonde bombshell has begun to shift over the last few years. Talent that once could have been relegated to cutesy-wunderkind-guitar hero territory has come into its own, and Fish is busting down doors in the world of electric blues guitar — an arena historically occupied by people who don't look a lot like her. Her latest, "Belle of the West," was produced by Luther Dickinson (of North Mississippi Allstars) and has liner note credits that read like the invitation list to the juke joint party of your dreams: Jimbo Mathus, Amy LaVere, Lillie Mae, Lightnin' Malcolm. Fellow cigar box blues guitarist Bill "Bluesboy Jag" Jagitsch and his band the Juke Joint Zombies open the show. SS